Here are three of them:
• “Relax. You can play Words With Friends for a few more minutes before you start writing, Jim.”
• “Just watch one more set of downs, Jim, before diving in. Heck, it’s the playoffs, and that whole Tebow thing is going on. You need to know what’s happening in culture.”
• “Start tomorrow in the morning. You’ll be fresh and the words will flow much easier. Besides, Kung Fu Panda 2 looks really, really good.”
I’m guessing more than a few of you have written prose even more compelling. Words that have inspired you to put off your writing once again.
Does it help to know you’re not alone? It helps me. A little. To confess I procrastinate and know others are saying, “Me too,” is an assist.
But to get a strangle hold around the throat of procrastination I think we have to go deeper and ask why we put off our writing. What’s the core reason those excuses resonate with so much truth we often embrace them and put off getting to—what for many of us—our life’s deepest purpose?
For me it’s fear. Fear it won’t be good enough. Fear what I write won’t be as compelling as last time. That people will discover I don’t know what I’m doing. That the bottom of the well has turned to dust.
Acknowledging the fear is the first step. Expose it to light.
The second? Realize action cures fear. Confidence (positive emotion toward our writing) usually comes after action, not before. In other words, start. Even if we don’t feel like it, we begin.
Step three. Do it again the next day, and the next, and the next.
Stop reading this. Start writing.
Who knows, we might write a few words that change a life.
James L. Rubart is the best-selling author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at www.jameslrubart.com